Are you meant to be a life coach?

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00:00:46 Hi, this is Rhonda Britten here for Master Coach Mindset™, and today’s Episode is about your first time Client. Those Clients that are coming to you with high hopes, and dreams, and plans, and goals, and they’re scared to bejeebers.
00:00:59 That’s right. Those are the two things that you have to know. On one hand, they want to make things happen. They’re hiring you for a purpose because they have something that they want to achieve. Now, always when they want to achieve something, the reason they’re hiring you is there’s a problem. There’s a rock in the middle of the road. There’s a stream in the middle of the field. There is some impediment to getting them towards their goal that they can’t do on their own. And that’s why they’re coming to you. I want you to remember, always, there’s two things going on when a Client comes to you. On one hand, they’re full of hope, and excitement, and possibilities. And, on the other hand, all of their stuff is going to come up because all that stuff is what’s in the middle of the road.
00:01:45 That is really important for you to know because, one, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad Coach because their stuff comes up. And two, I want you to know that it’s not about them either. It’s nothing bad about them either because it doesn’t make them a bad person or a tough Client. It’s just natural on the way to our dreams. On the way to our goals, on the way to our plans, on the way to our destiny. The whole point is, the reason they talk about the journey, “What matters is the journey,” is because the journey is where we discover who we are, and your Clients coming to you want to discover who they are, even though they may not know that. They just want the quick five-step plan of achieving their goal. They just want to make their dream happen. And too many Clients don’t recognize what they really have to go through that they have to get over that bump in the road.
00:02:29 It’s not your fault, and it’s not their fault but how it shows up. And this is a word that most Coaches use and I’ll tell you why I don’t use it in a minute. But most Coaches use the word “resistant.” “Oh, my Client is resistant.” Well, let’s talk a little bit about how that might show up for you. And, again, I’ll tell you in a minute why I don’t believe in using the word “resistant.” One reason your Clients might be resistant, or when and where they show that they’re resistant, is they don’t show up on Sessions on time. They don’t show up on time. Another way that they might show their “resistance” is they balk at the money. They don’t want to invest in themselves. They balk at the money. “You’re too expensive.” Another way that they might show “resistance” is they don’t pay their bills on time.
00:03:14 Maybe you have a monthly retainer and they pay the first month, maybe the second month, and then the third month … they don’t really pay it, or they’re late, or they have another reason. That is a sure sign that their stuff is coming up. And, again, not personal, not about you, but it’s their stuff coming up. The other thing is, they might leave their homework undone. Yeah. In fact, that’s one of the number one questions I receive from Coaches, as I’ve answered in previous Episodes is, “How do you get your Clients to do their homework?” And in order for a Client to do their homework that’s what’s called “coaching.” That’s what coaching is. How do you move a person from here, having a dream, a goal, an intention, they want to make it happen, to the accomplishment of that? Well, in between is a whole bunch of resistance.
00:04:02 A whole bunch of opportunities, a whole bunch of challenges, and a whole bunch of excitement. Let me tell you why I don’t use the word “resistant.” I don’t believe that our Clients are purposely being resistant. I don’t think that when a Client isn’t paying you on time or misses a Session, I don’t think they’re easily thinking to themselves, “I’m going to do this to sabotage my success.” Or, “I’m going to do this to treat my Coach poorly.” They don’t really think about it. There are not on automatic pilot, because you always have to remember that there’s three types of thinking that is going on in our lovely brains.
00:04:37 It’s the automatic thinking, it’s just automatic script thinking and that is where fear resides. It’s just automatic. The other one is analytical. We use our heads, we use our thinking. And then the other one is, a new term that’s been batted around lately, is called “elastic,” and that’s really where we can move into our frontal lobe and actually start choosing. When a Client is manipulating their bill or hesitating to pay their bill or doesn’t show up on Sessions, when you treat them as if they’re guilty, that shames them which only builds on their already feelings of unworthiness or not successful. Because the reason that they are “resisting,” in your mind, is that they are bumping up against the rock in the road.
00:05:28 I don’t use the word “resistant” because I don’t think our Clients are conscious of doing it. I don’t think they plan on doing it. I don’t think they’re evilly doing it. I just think they’re afraid. Let’s talk about some of the things that get in our Client’s way and also, just to point out another thing, I’ll say one more thing about resistance, is that it also might show up as procrastination. I also don’t think our Clients purposely procrastinate either. And also, I’ll say one more thing because it just came to my head and I got to get it out, is that when a Client shows these symptoms, they’re just trying to get their needs met, and they don’t know what those needs are. They don’t know what those needs are. And for many people, doing that, not paying their bills on time, being late etc., you know what they really want? Is they want to be special.
00:06:25 They want to be given a chance like other people don’t. They want you to think of them as better than or special or that you’re going to give them a special deal or a special … I can’t say that word right now. I’m not even going to try. Forget it. You know what word I’m talking about. Just know that you have to ask yourself, when you’re judging, when you’re rejecting, when you’re blaming, when you’re telling your Clients, “Shape up,” in whatever way you do, you’re only increasing guilt and shame. Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t give them feedback. That doesn’t mean you can’t put boundaries in place, but just be aware that they don’t know what they’re doing, but your Clients are triggered. They’re triggered by, one, their needs not being fulfilled. Two, they don’t feel accepted, they don’t accept themselves and maybe they don’t feel accepted by you.
00:07:18 Now, it may be nothing you’re doing, it just might be the way that they operate in the world. They’re searching for acceptance and the only way they feel like they get it, is by misbehaving and being treated special. Again, the way our Clients “show up as resistant,” is because they are triggered. First one was needs unfulfilled. The second is lack of self-acceptance, themselves or from you. Three, that they’re in survival. And I think that’s really important that we all need to understand that when a Client is “misbehaving” or “resisting,” they’re doing it because that survival mechanism worked in the past. It worked for them when they were 18, when they were 16, when they were 15 and maybe even worked when they were 30 or 35, but it isn’t going to get them where they want to go, but they don’t know how to be different.
00:08:04 I’m just going to stop here and do a side point because I think that’s the essence that you have to bring to the Session is that, your Clients don’t know why they can’t achieve their goals. They make up reasons, but they don’t really know why. Your job is to support them through your questioning, through your acceptance, through your support, through helping them identify those unfulfilled needs and getting them met, etc., in order for them to reach their goal and plan. Let me keep going on the list of triggers. Another thing to remember, when your Clients getting triggered is, it’s not personal. It’s not about you. It’s their stuff, and we’re going to talk later about when you get triggered because you, my dear Coach, gets triggered too. Do not get defensive. Do not get defensive, do not blame yourself.
00:08:55 Do not make it about you. Don’t go there. Don’t switch the conversation. I think one thing that coaches can get caught up in is, “Oh, they must be feeling uncomfortable and so I’ve got to make them feel comfortable, so I’ll take the pressure off of them and make it about me, or I’ll ask them a different question or change the subject.” That is the last thing you want to do. Self-mastery is about the ability to be comfortable being uncomfortable. That’s what self-mastery is, the ability to be comfortable being uncomfortable, so you can make the changes necessary. And if, you as the Coach feel uncomfortable when your Client’s uncomfortable, then you are being an ineffective Coach. Another way to support them when they get triggered is to give them new vocabulary. Help them understand what’s happening inside of them. I think that’s one of the things that I know I do on a frequent basis.
00:09:45 I think that’s what, when you become a more confident and more masterful Coach, when you become a Master Coach, that becomes easier and easier to do. Give options, they’re triggered, they’re resistant, they’re procrastinating, they’re begging for attention whatever way that is, your job is to give them baby steps. Let’s say they’re on the way to their goal and dream, and they don’t make their payment or they show up late. It’s because maybe this isn’t happening the way they want it to, as fast as they want it to, as pretty as they want it to, as great as they want it to, and so they’re feeling disappointed in themselves, and maybe even disappointed in you. Your job is to, again, back them up a little bit … back them up a little bit, and give them a little, tiny help them identify a tiny baby step, so that they can build back their confidence.
00:10:36 No path from, “I want to make it happen,” to, “I made it happen,” is ever a straight path. It goes three steps forward, two steps back, five steps forward, two steps back, three steps forward, one step back. That’s the way we work. So, thinking your Client is only going to go one way is naive and ineffective. Your job, when they’re getting bumped up against the wall, is to help them back up, recalibrate, give them a baby step, and help them start again. Lastly, you have to remember that they’re bringing the past when they’re triggered into the present. When a Client is triggered, it is not 99% of the time happening at the present moment. That thing is happening in the past, and so you can ask questions about the past.
00:11:31 “What is similar right now, in this moment right now, when you’re saying this to me or when you’re thinking this thought or when you’re having this feeling? Do you have any remembrances of any other time this happened? Have you ever wanted to make something happen in the past and it ‘didn’t happen the way you wanted’? What was that like?” Our Clients are always getting stuck in the past just like we are. Whenever we’re triggered, we’re also getting stuck in the past, and our opportunity is to bring the Client back into the present moment, help them anchor to their values, help them anchor into the truth of where they want to go and who they want to be, i.e., who they really are when they’re not afraid. These are the huge opportunities we get to have as a Coach, that we get to help people shine.
00:12:13 We get to help people be inspired by their own actions, build momentum in their own lives, and they’re going to get triggered along the way. And because they’re going to get triggered, you are going to get triggered, so remember that. The more that you become masterful in your own life the more you won’t take it personally when your Client is resisting, and the more you won’t blame them when they’re procrastinating, and you won’t make it personal. That way true acceptance is happening because that’s the greatest gift that you can give to your Client. Yes, you can listen, all those skills, but really the gift that you give is acceptance. Accepting them exactly as they are, “resistant,” “procrastinating,” all of the things, all those triggers, but you understand that they are courageous no matter what, because they’re on the phone with you and trying, and working on, and moving forward in their life. That is courageous.
00:13:14 Let’s talk a little bit about how else this could show up in a Session that’s a little bit more subtle. If a Client talks a lot, and it’s like a mile a minute, I want to give you a heads up that just because a Client shares a lot doesn’t actually mean that they’re sharing something that’s depthful. They may be appearing to be open, they may appear to be vulnerable and transparent, but they’re not really taking it home. They’re just staying on the surface and just telling you a story after story after story. So remember, stories, stories are not necessarily … I should say, the longer the story doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting more information and more depthful information. Your job is to remember that another way your Client could show up being triggered is that they share a lot, but they don’t really say anything.
00:14:18 The other way is that they do the opposite. They rarely share anything and they isolate and they get quiet and they really have a difficult time speaking up. So, again, you as the Coach get to monitor that. If they’re talking too much, we’ve talked about these skills in the past on different Episodes, then you get to interrupt. You get to interrupt and help them anchor something. Help them go deeper. That’s your job. Your job is to take them deeper when appropriate, not anytime whenever you feel like it, but when it’s appropriate. And if they’re mute, if they’re being silent and not really sharing, your opportunity is ask a variety of questions to help unloosen them up. To unloosen that fear, to unloosen their concern, to unloosen their embarrassment or shame or whatever’s going on.
00:15:11 That’s where we come in with full self-acceptance, to accept them exactly as they are. Because, in that framework, when we’re in that frame of acceptance and they’re talking too much and not saying anything and we interrupt, they’re willing to go with us. If they’re being quiet and we accept them, they’re willing to answer the questions more often. So, that acceptance is critical to that first time Client, because that’s what they really need to go from here to here. And, in fact, you might be the first person that actually has ever listened to them, has ever accepted them, has ever believed in them. I mean, really think about that. You might be the first person in this 52-year-old woman’s life or this 45-year-old man’s life, that has ever truly listened, accepted, and believed. But that’s only the framework, that’s the frame in which you must go into that Session because then you must do your magic.
00:16:14 You must Coach. You must Coach. And let me share one more. They’re talking a lot, talking a little, and then they might just be gosh darn confused. Confusion is one of the main ways your Clients stay stuck. So remember, when they get confused, you can redefine words, you can ask them one through 10, you can give them a new word, you can describe it to them. Ask them to describe something. You can check in with their feelings. You can ask them what they feel, you can check in with their bodies, you can give them a feelings list and ask them to choose a feeling. Remember, here in Fearless Living®, if somebody doesn’t know how they feel, which most people don’t, we tell them to guess. So, have that feelings list handy. Tell them to have that handy. Tell them to go get it and ask them to look at the list and guess.
00:17:02 Ask your Client to rephrase. When they’re getting confused or you are getting confused, ask your Client to rephrase, so that you can hear it a different way. I do that all the time. I’ll say, “You know what, I am not clear what you’re saying, could you say it a different way?” Or, “Could you help me out here? I’m not really understanding.” We’ve talked about this in previous Episodes. How important it is that you’re willing to say you don’t get it. You cannot coach if you don’t get it. If you can’t follow where they’re going and you skipped this part of the story, or you don’t understand this, remember we’ve talked about this in Season two, you will not be able to coach them. You will actually skip over that part and forget all about all the juicy things they say. Again, are they talking a lot, talking a little, or just being confusing or confused? And always, always, no matter if you’re coaching for the first time or coaching the hundredth time or the thousandth time, make sure you always check in with yourself.
00:18:05 We’re going to talk a little bit more in the next Episode about what happens when you get triggered because you, my dear Coach, get triggered with your Clients. And I’m going to help you figure out what to do in your trigger in the middle of a Session, as well as how to support yourself, so you can learn to be more confident, more trusting, and more empowered in every coaching Session you have.

Let’s get to the question of the day. What are the top three mistakes most coaches make with their first Client? Well, let me tell you. Number one, you’re making it all about you, and you’re believing your Client’s results reflect on your ability to Coach, i.e., if your Client doesn’t get results, your self-esteem is in the toilet. Or if that Session you don’t get praised or if they don’t say, “You changed my life,” or, “It was amazing,” you walk away thinking it was a crappy Session.
00:19:06 When you use your Client’s response or your Client’s results to determine how great of a Coach you are, that’s one of the first things that will take you down and make you think, “I don’t know what I’m doing.” Number two, you try to go too fast and you give too much content, and you’re not paying attention to the pace of the Client. Some Clients are going to devour everything and move really super-fast, but that’s not most Clients. Most Clients will go fast for a period of time, because they’ll have momentum maybe in the beginning, but then they are going to slow down in order to deepen, and embody the work. And if, again, if you think that slowing down is a reflection on them or a reflection of you, a reflection of the Session, you’re missing the point. If you try to give too much too soon and think that you’re a better Coach because you’re giving more homework and more content, no. And three, when you lean on your scripts and your templates too much and you don’t trust yourself yet.
00:20:12 Now, trusting yourself as a Coach is built over time, so I understand that if you’re a beginning Coach, if you’re just at the beginning stage of maybe your first hundred hours or first thousand hours actually, you may not trust yourself yet. That is the number one problem because then what you do when you don’t trust yourself and you’re not building self-trust, then you’re probably going to grab that script and template and think it has the answers. No, my friend, it may have guides. It may have guidance, it may have suggestions, but it is not the solution to your Client’s problem. I am just going to give you a bonus, number four. I think where many beginning Coaches go off the track is that, because they don’t accept themselves, because they have judgments about themselves, they have a difficult time truly accepting their Client exactly as they are. And then the world today in the coaching arena is so all about, “Find your perfect Client.
00:21:13 “Find your perfect Client.” Or, “You don’t want resistant Clients, you difficult Clients.” Every Client at some point is going to be difficult because they’re going through a difficulty. And they’re going to feel “resistant” because they’re trying to move the rock in the road. So, be attentive to what you define as “difficult” or “resistant” Clients. Really challenge yourself with that. I think too many Clients get the short end of the stick, and we blame them for our ineffective coaching. Those are the three mistakes. And bonus number four, what I think most Coaches do when they first begin.
Until next Episode, Be Fearless.